, On paper Italy had one of the world's largest armies, but the reality was the opposite. Since the British Navy had as a principal task the supply and protection of convoys supplying Britain's outposts in the Mediterranean, the mere continued existence of the Italian fleet (the so-called "fleet in being" concept) caused problems to Britain, which had to utilise warships sorely needed elsewhere to protect Mediterranean convoys. The Kriegsmarine assigned new officers to the three units, who were renamed as U-boat U.IT.23, U.IT.24 and U.IT.25, taking part in German war operations in the Pacific until the Giuliani was sunk by the British submarine HMS Tally-ho in February 1944 and the other two vessels were taken over by the Japanese Imperial Navy upon Germany's surrender in 1945. The initial Italian offensive was quickly contained, and the invasion soon ended in an embarrassing stalemate. The Italian concession of Tientsin was occupied by Japanese troops after resistance from its garrison. Italy occupied a swath of French territory along the Franco-Italian border. Within a week of Italy's declaration of war on 10 June 1940, the British 11th Hussars had seized Fort Capuzzo in Libya. Commissariato generale C.G.V. The Allied armies continued to advance through Italy despite increasing opposition from the Germans. Then, Italy would be able to march "either to the Indian Ocean through the Sudan and Abyssinia, or to the Atlantic by way of French North Africa". The Germans re-located him to northern Italy where he set up a new Fascist state, the Italian Social Republic (Repubblica Sociale Italiana or RSI). Italy's military failures against France, Greece, Yugoslavia and in the African Theatres of war shook Italy's new prestige mightily. Lightly opposed, they advanced about 100 km (62 mi) to Sidi Barrani, where they stopped and began entrenching themselves in a series of fortified camps.  He criticises Rommel for ignoring the good advice of Italians during the Crusader Offensive (although he also presents a positive picture of the Field Marshal in general), and in review of Sadkovich's work The Italian Navy in World War II, criticises it for being unreliable and recommends Bragadin and the Italian official history instead. On 10 June 1940, as the French government fled to Bordeaux during the German invasion, declaring Paris an open city, Mussolini felt the conflict would soon end and declared war on Britain and France. The "Red Sea Flotilla", consisting of seven destroyers and eight submarines, was based at the port of Massawa in Eritrea. Unit Histories - : Detail Histories + â¦ Malta! Mussolini was fiercely disappointed with Graziani's sluggishness. Along with the intervention in the Spanish Civil War and the invasion of Abyssinia, the invasion of Albania was part of the Italian contribution to the disintegration of the collective security the League of Nations instituted after World War I. [nb 3] Three series of modern fighters[nb 4], capable of meeting the best allied planes on equal terms,[nb 5] were in development, with a few hundred of each eventually being produced. Italian troops captured by the Germans were given a choice to keep fighting with the Germans. It is estimated that 7,500 Italian Jews became victims of the Holocaust.. He opted to remain in the war as the imperial ambitions of the Fascist regime, which aspired to restore the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean (the Mare Nostrum), were partially met by late 1942. In the Italian constitutional referendum, 1946 the Italian monarchy was abolished, having been associated with the deprivations of the war and the Fascist rule. The most successful involved the use of frogmen and riding manned torpedoes to attack ships in harbour. J, 'The Italo-Greek War in Context: Italian Priorities and Axis Diplomacy', Sadkovich, James J. , In September 1939, Britain imposed a selective blockade of Italy. The rocky terrain had prevented an anti-tank ditch from being dug and there were too few mines and 47 mm anti-tank guns to repel an armoured advance. The next day Mussolini met with the King, was dismissed as prime minister, and was then imprisoned. Their 75/46 fixed AA/AT gun, 75/32 gun, 90/53 AA/AT gun (an equally deadly but less famous peer of the German 88/55), 47/32 AT gun, and the 20 mm AA autocannon were effective, modern weapons. In June 1940, after initial success, the Italian offensive into southern France stalled at the fortified Alpine Line. This stressed massed armour, massed and mobile artillery, action against enemy flanks, deep penetration and exploitation, and the 'indirect' approach. On 28 June Marshal Italo Balbo, the Governor-General of Libya, was killed by friendly fire while landing in Tobruk. Libya had been pacified under the fascists and was undergoing Italian settlement. Corsica! [nb 7] There was insufficient budget to train the men in the services, such that the bulk of personnel received much of their training at the front, when it was too late to be of use. Many previous authors used only German or British sources, not considering the Italian ones, hampered by few Italian sources being translated into English. Despite a severe shortage of fuel, the flotilla posed a threat to British convoys traversing the Red Sea. After a period of reinforcement and training the Allies assumed the offensive at the Second Battle of Alamein (October/November 1942) where they scored a decisive victory and the remains of Rommel's German-Italian Panzer Army were forced to engage in a fighting retreat for 1,600 mi (2,600 km) to the Libyan border with Tunisia. Other examples: Bishop and Warner (2001) – "It was Germany's misfortune to be allied to Italy.....the performance of most Italian infantry units risable.....could be relied on to fold like a house of cards.....dash and elan but no endurance"; The phrase "prisoner in the Mediterranean" had been used in parliament as early as 30 March 1925, by the naval minister Admiral. Due to their generally smaller size, many Italian divisions were reinforced by an Assault Group (Gruppo d'Assalto) of two battalions of Blackshirts (MVSN). Many Italian personalities joined the RSI, like General Rodolfo Graziani. (Schreiber, Gerhard: S. 54, in Deutsche Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg, Band 3) If those numbers sound a bit off, well, Operation Barbarossa was largest military invasâ¦ AND- - Army Maps - Maps issued in WW2.  Nonetheless, D-day was set at dawn on 28 October. Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, marked the beginning of World War II. Aldo Brunacci of Assisi, under the direction of his bishop, Giuseppe Nicolini, saved all the Jews who sought refuge in Assisi. Though subordinate to the Italians, under Rommel's direction the Axis troops pushed the British and Commonwealth troops back into Egypt but were unable to complete the task because of the exhaustion and their extended supply lines which were under threat from the Allied enclave at Tobruk, which they failed to capture. Italian; Royal Italian Army. These included 59 infantry divisions, six Alpini divisions, three Celere divisions (cavalry), three armoured divisions plus various Frontier Guard units and coastal divisions. In early 1939, while the world was focused on Adolf Hitler's aggression against Czechoslovakia, Mussolini looked to the Kingdom of Albania, across the Adriatic Sea from Italy. On 25 July, the Grand Council of Fascism voted to limit the power of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and handed control of the Italian armed forces over to King Victor Emmanuel III. Graziani complained to Mussolini that his forces were not properly equipped for such an operation, and that an attack into Egypt could not possibly succeed; nevertheless, Mussolini ordered him to proceed. This was followed by "the familiar lament that Italy was a prisoner in the Mediterranean". Journal of Contemporary History, Volume 24, 1989. The Italian Government introduced military conscription in 1907. Similarly to various major powers, Italy announced conscription within the 1870s, establishing The nominal Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Royal Army was His Majesty King Vittorio Emanuele III. But the development of the fascist corporate state in the 1920s saw a revival of the influence of the Armâ¦ At the same time, the last four submarines made an epic voyage around the Cape of Good Hope to Bordeaux in France. Other Italian troops, loyal to Mussolini and his RSI, continued to fight alongside the Germans (among them were the Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano, the National Republican Army). Mussolini announced his decisionâone bitterly opposed by his foreign minister, Galeazzo Cianoâto huge crowds across Italy on June 10. â¦ In 1940, the Italian Royal Navy (Regia Marina) could not match the overall strength of the British Royal Navy in the Mediterranean Sea. Nearly four million Italians served in the Italian Army during the Second World War and nearly half a million Italians (including civilians) lost their lives between June 1940 and May 1945. By then they had been able to penetrate deep into Albania. Ultimately the Italian empire collapsed after disastrous defeats in the Eastern European and North African campaigns. On paper, the Royal Army was one of the largest ground forces in World War II, though in reality it could not field the numbers claimed, and it was one of the pioneers in the use of paratroopers. Mussolini ordered Balbo's replacement, General Rodolfo Graziani, to launch an attack into Egypt immediately. Italo-German forces had also achieved victories against insurgents in Yugoslavia, and had occupied parts of British-held Egypt on their push to El-Alamein after their victory at Gazala. Generals - Photos of a few selected leaders.  To break British control, her bases on Cyprus, Gibraltar, Malta, and in Egypt (controlling the Suez Canal) would have to be neutralized. At El Alamein 30,000 Italians surrendered to a numerically superior British force but it is important to note the battle casualties sustained : 25,000 Italo-German and 13,000 British dead or wounded. MacGregor Knox. In July 1941, some 62,000 Italian troops of the Italian Expeditionary Corps in Russia (Corpo di Spedizione Italiano in Russia, CSIR) left for the Eastern Front to aid in the German invasion of the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa). The Italian Army had suffered heavy losses for only limited gains during World War One and in common with the other combatant nations the Army was drastically reduced in size and influence following the 1918 armistice. Djibouti!  Rather, the pact was designed for a "joint war against France and Britain", although the Italian hierarchy held the understanding that such a war would not take place for several years.  In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out. However, only about 25 per cent of those eligible for conscription received training. However, German and Japanese actions in 1941 led to the entry of the Soviet Union and United States, respectively, into the war, thus ruining the Italian plan of forcing Britain to agree to a negotiated peace settlement.. However, Italy's conquests were always heavily contested, both by various insurgencies (most prominently the Greek resistance and Yugoslav partisans) and Allied military forces, which waged the Battle of the Mediterranean throughout and beyond Italy's participation.